Monday, February 3, 2014

'Almost Famous' and 'Late' Hoffman

One of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman's final films was, ironically, titled A Late Quartet.  Christopher Walken got most of the hurrahs--he deserved an Oscar nod--but Hoffman was also terrific as, literally, second fiddle.  Of course, I'd love because it centers around the playing of Beethoven's fabled opus 131 but it's actually a wonderful movie.  And streaming on Netflix now.  Trailer follows.  Below that, PSH as one of our old Crawdaddy writers, Lester Bangs, in Almost FamousUPDATE:  Cameron Crowe, another Crawdaddy writer, who directed the latter (semi-autobiographical) film, posted this today:
My original take on this scene was a loud, late night pronouncement from Lester Bangs. A call to arms. In Phil’s hands it became something different. A scene about quiet truths shared between two guys, both at the crossroads, both hurting, and both up too late. It became the soul of the movie. In between takes, Hoffman spoke to no one. He listened only to his headset, only to the words of Lester himself. (His Walkman was filled with rare Lester interviews.) When the scene was over, I realized that Hoffman had pulled off a magic trick. He’d leapt over the words and the script, and gone hunting for the soul and compassion of the private Lester, the one only a few of us had ever met. Suddenly the portrait was complete. The crew and I will always be grateful for that front row seat to his genius.
--G.M.

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